Taking the First Step: Darrell’s Story

Darrell paintingDarrell is a young man with a desire to be helpful. Though he appears shy at first, those who get to know him soon find out he is friendly, outgoing, and so much fun to be around. He expressed a desire to work with customers, so his Job Coach, Jennifer, knew that a Work-Based Learning Experience (WBLE) at Brother’s Keeper thrift store would be a great place for him to start.  

employU’s WBLEs allow students the opportunity to learn industry skills, experience a workplace setting, and learn transferrable skills like time management and communication with the support of their own job coach. WBLEs are also paid experiences, meaning the student earns an hourly wage while learning these skills and exploring possible future career paths and interests.  

As Darrell started his first day on the work-based learning experience, he told Jennifer he was nervous about making friends. Not even 30 minutes later, Darrell had a new friend and worked alongside that coworker a few times throughout his WBLE. After completing his first WBLE with Brother’s Keeper, Darrell requested to go back for a second WBLE. He enjoyed the atmosphere, got along with his site manager, Cia, and felt confident and supported with Jennifer as his job coach. When Jennifer contacted Cia to see if she would be open to Darrell returning for another WBLE, Cia’s response was “Come on Darrell! We miss ya!!”  

Upon returning to Brother’s Keeper for his second WBLE, Darrell was full of confidence. He works as a stocker and even helps teach coworkers how to do tasks they have been given. He also helps clean the store and fixes items that cannot be sold as-is. Through this experience, Darrell has become more confident and comfortable in a work environment. We are excited to see what Darrell accomplishes as he continues to grow through this WBLE and continues on his path towards success. For more information on employU’s Work-Based Learning Experiences visit https://employu.org/youth-paid-work-based-learning/